Sand Mandala-making at Lido Beach in Sarasota, FL
Creating sand mandalas using shells, twigs and other found objects at the beach is a way for us, and those who join us in our circle, to feel connected to the ocean, the sky and, of course, the sand.
Cynthia Bydlinski and Marcia Calderon, art and health facilitators as well as professional members of Arts for Health Sarasota-Manatee, started their creative sand mandala-making (sometimes called sand circle-making) at Lido Beach, Sarasota more than six years ago. It’s a cliché, but being so close to the water can be a magical, calming and very often a healing experience. We watch as people deeply breathe in sea-salted air, marvel at the setting sun over the water and visibly relax as they take in the tranquility around them. It is equally empowering and humbling.
Their sand mandala-making always has an intention behind it, they say. Over the years Cynthia and Marcia have invited participants to focus thoughts on a full moon rising as they gave thanks for the abundance in their lives; the gulf coast during a time of ecological crisis; healing as part of the Florida Women Veterans Conference; and, more recently, creating community with Arts for Health Sarasota-Manatee members and supporters at an outreach event.
In addition to the psychological, social and spiritual benefits, sand mandala-making promotes physical well-being. Research has shown that this type of creative activity—connecting the joy of honoring and being in nature with an invitation to create sand mandalas using found objects—reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Submitted by Cynthia Bydlinski and Marcia Calderon
Art + Health Facilitators